Models of Generosity

Computational models of sharing and generosity complement fieldwork and laboratory experiments. We employ agent-based models and netwok models to ask how different sharing rules shape social interactions and large-scale outcomes. We have found that systems of sharing based on the need of the recipient (need-based transfer systems) can enhance survival and lead to risk mitigation for the entire system of actors.

Our Models Have Shown That:


Sharing systems based on need enhance survival and help mitigate risk for the entire system.

Aktipis, C. A., Cronk, L., De Aguilar, R. (2011). Risk-pooling and herd survival: An agent-based model of a Maasai gift-giving system. Human Ecology, 38.


Greater networks size and network connectedness enhances survival in need-based transfer systems.

Hao, Y., Cronk L., Armbruster, D., Aktipis, C.A. (2014. )Need-based transfers on a network: A model of risk-pooling in ecologically volatile environments. Evolution and Human Behavior


Need-based transfers outperform account-keeping systems and lead to greater wealth equality.

Aktipis, C. A., Cronk, L., De Aguilar, R. (submitted). Cooperation in an uncertain world: Need-based transfers outperform account keeping in volatile environments